Thomas Frank wants to make Brentford’s final season at Griffin Park “magical”.
The Bees today begin their emotional season-long farewell to their home against Birmingham City, with the move to a new stadium in Lionel Road scheduled for the start of next season.
By the time the play Barnsley on the final day, on May 2 next year, the Brentford boss hopes they will have left behind more great memories for the fans to savour.
“We know it’s a farewell season at Griffin Park and we need to do everything we can to make this last season magical,” Frank said.
“We need to give the fans some fantastic experiences to enjoy at Griffin Park and that’s the aim. We need to play forward, we need to pay with a lot of energy. We will do everything we can.
“We know we need the fans. We need them to back us and give us a lot of help because there will be ups and downs, but at home we have a fortress.”
He added: “It’s very special for all of us, especially the fans. That’s why I think we have an even bigger responsibility this year to do everything we can to make it special.
“Hopefully we can do that. We are putting some top performances in, especially at Griffin Park, where I felt that last year, we had performances bang up there – and maybe some of the best games in the Championship.
“That puts a little bit of pressure on us, which we like, because that means we perform well at Griffin Park.
“We need it to be a fortress again. Last year I think we were the third best home team – very close to Sheffield United and Norwich, so I think that’s an aim in itself – to be the best home side in the division.
“But we can only do that together with the fans, because they need to help us a lot.”
Improving the defence
Frank believes Brentford have a better squad now than they did at the tail end of last season – and should be much better defensively.
“We need to be attacking and forward thinking and forward playing. The aim is to be one of the most attractive team in the league, which I think we were last year,” said the Dane.
“We want to continue that but we need to improve the defensive side of the game.
“Every season we’ve been going into, we had a belief that we could compete in the Championship and we definitely competed.
“But how could we manage to close the gap? We definitely need to be better defensively – that’s a big thing for me.
“I think we have a stronger squad than six months ago. But it’s very interesting to see when you get new players whether they hit the ground running, but what we know is we are very pleased with the six we’ve got in and it’s just how quickly they can fit in.”
Frank is determined that his team will follow the blueprint of last season in trying to hog possession and press opponents
“We want to dominate on the ball as well as press aggressively and high, and we want to do that at home and away,” he said.
“Of course, when you play away, it’s sometimes more difficult to dominate, especially against the bigger teams, but it’s other bits during the game where we need to manage better and we mainly need to defend better in crucial moments and that’s what we’ve had a big focus on this pre-season.”
New signings on board
The summer arrival of Pontus Jansson could play a “massive” part in improving the defensive record, Frank says.
He added: “It’s obvious that, going forward, we were one of the best sides last year. Going the other way, we were not that good. That’s down to training, but also personnel.
“I think Pontus can massively help improve us. I’m looking forward and very confident on the defensive side.”
Frank also has high hopes for Joel Valencia, who completed his move to Brentford this week.
“I think in the 10 position he’s a top player,” Frank said of the £1.8m signing from Polish side Piast Gliwice, who is a product of Real Zaragoza’s academy.
“He’s extremely good to play in the space between lines. He has such quick feet and can go both ways and he can take a man on one v one.
“He’s [always] arriving in the box, his pressing is good, so he fits the way we want to play, with high pressure and counter-pressing.
“And in training he showed me just that little glimpse of top, pure class, so I’m sure the fans will love to watch him play.”